Sidewalk Film Festival - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Sidewalk Film Festival

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The Sidewalk Film Festival is going on this weekend in downtown Birmingham drawing thousands of people from all over the world. The event has been going on for more than 10 years and is a huge economic boost for the city and the county.

Executive Director, Chloe Collins, says the event generates around 1.3 million dollars for the local economy while showcasing a lot of venues and businesses people might not be familiar with.

The annual Sidewalk Film Festival in downtown Birmingham is showcasing around 200 independent films. Brian Garitty attended the festival. "I came cause I'm a film buff and love everything downtown."

Local musicians are also taking center stage. Collins says "It's one of a few times for three straight days you see people walking on the street Saturday and Sunday interacting with local business people, meeting neighbors and friends."

There are 7 screening venues, including the Alabama Theatre. Collins says it's a great opportunity for people to see venues they're not familiar with.

Collins says  "The Carver Theatre is a place a lot of people have never been before or the new ASFA theatre at the school of fine arts or the Red Mountain."

Putting a spotlight on independent filmmaking.  "Film festivals are incredibly important, especially for independent filmmakers. If you don't have distribution or someplace else to sell it whether its in the theatrical distribution or on cable television, this is the only way for work to be seen."
 
Filmmaker Jon Frankel from New York City showed his documentary "American Man" about former Alabama Football Player Kevin Turner and his battle with ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Turner is raising awareness of the traumas produced by sports related head injuries.

Kevin Turner says "There's a lot of things you just aren't seeing that this opens the door and lets everybody in to see what it's like living with ALS."

Collins says a lot of these films feature real life events, but the event itself also opens the door to all Birmingham has to offer. It's a big weekend for Lyric Hotdogs and Grill. Owner Andrew Collins says "it brings in people not use to coming downtown, brings in people from out of town, it's a thrilling advantage."

Chloe Collins says "People book hotel rooms, they fly into Birmingham and take cabs, eat at restaurants, get a drink at a bar and hopefully have a good time in the city center."

The film festival continues Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are 10 dollars per film or 25 dollars for a day pass. There are also some free workshops.

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